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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Godliness

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An attitude and style of life that acknowledges God's claims on human life and seeks to live in accordance with God's will. In pagan Greek sources eusebeia (godliness, piety) refers to worship of the gods and to respect for the representatives of institutions regarded as divinely ordained (parents, judges, the emperor). Eusebeia was sometimes distinguished from dikaiosyne (righteousness) as concerning one's relationship with the gods rather than with other persons. Acts 3:12 contrasts “piety” with faith in the name of Jesus, the real source of healing. Acts uses the adjective godly to describe religiously observant Gentiles ( Acts 10:2 ,Acts 10:2,10:7; Acts 17:23 ).

Only 1,2Timothy, Titus, and 2Peter use words with the euseb- root for Christian piety. Individuals can be trained in godliness ( 1 Timothy 4:7 ). Godly teaching (1 Timothy 6:3 ) is that which results in godly lives (Titus 1:1 ). False teachers sought to make their godliness a source of financial gain (1 Timothy 6:5 ). When “godliness” appears in lists with other virtues, it perhaps retains its earlier sense of respect for God and divinely ordained institutions (1 Timothy 6:11; Titus 2:12; 2 Peter 1:3-7 ). The form of godliness lacking the power of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5 ) likely refers to professed godliness that failed to shape moral lives since the profession was not accompanied by a vital relationship with God.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Godliness'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/g/godliness.html. 1991.

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